3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment

Saturday 1 September 1917 – Beachy Homestead

Dorc’s 21st birthday ~ food – tin of salmon, bread, marmalade & tea from cookhouse ~ not much bacon lately ~ swam the horses ~ Mic Dunk’s birthday too ~ bad luck the Mongolia going down

Beachy Homestead
Clean sky & blue sea
Saturday 1 September 1917

What ho Dorc

You’re a cat! & no doubt about it – 21 cats in fact – a cat for every year & a year for every cat. I’ve not written – that I can remember – anything special for this auspicious day – hence you’ll take my above expressed sentiments & hopes & wishes & desires in full payment & atonement for any commission on my part: good. Bad luck Lic!

It’s about 12 noon here – so about 8pm at your place. S’pose you are sitting or standing in all your finery of stateliness & receiving your numerous guests (& suitors?) at the early part of your 21st birthday party: hope you have a good time this eve anyway. P’raps Elf is visiting you – & I’ll bet Sal made a cake. Wish I had a bit here cos we haven’t much for dinner today. Must go down to the canteen later on.

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We have a tin of salmon, bread & marmalade; & tea to get directly from the cookhouse. Finished our last tin of fruit this morning for Brek with the boiled rice that the cooks provided. Not much bacon lately – so on the alternate mornings when we don’t get porridge – they have been dishing up a bit of stew or rice or some sich. Fruit & rice pudding may seem to you to be a strange sort of brek – but we might do worse – for instance if we hadn’t the fruit!

I’ve only been in the sea a few times today. Once before brek when it was bonny & smooth & good for swimming: then I had to ride away after brek to load up bit of fodder – rations etc – took a couple of hours – so I was hot & ducked straight in for a swim to wash off the dust of that job. Half an hour later we had orders to take all the horses in – so in I went again – twice – cos I also swam Nimble – a spare horse that our section is looking after just at present. Since then we have ‘fed up’ the horses & are just waiting to do the same for ourselves: spose I’ll have one or two swims more before bed time tonight.

Last evening I walked down to the M Gun Squadron just in time to meet Frank Jones & Herb Bail on their way into the water – so of course I went in too to see that they didn’t drown & then went back & yarned with them till 8 or 8.30. Bonzar – walking back along the sea – just in the water on the hard sand & with a big moon nearly full – lighting the way.

We knock round with about a shirt & knicks on – plus a hat in the day time – so do not worry much if a wave happens to come in a bit extra hard & splashed you ½ or all over: soon drys.

Dinner now over – Mic Dunk just mentioned that it was a boz birthday dinner we were having – & it transpired that it is his birthday today – 25 not out. So I said I had an ickle sister at home who was kidding herself about being growed up today.

Now I’ve 2 or 3 letters of yours which I must tear up or burn so I’ll just see if there’s anything requiring an answer. I’m trying to get my correspondence in a bit better state while down here – & I’ve just rubbed off the rough edges now – so am going to tackle the proper job. Now for our last – first. It was short – dated 12th July & written from the Public Library. Some class – these CU Secs by their names ‘still-well’ & ‘wise-world’ – do they keep up to their appellations?

I saw a picture of 10/48 in a Chronicle & Jeff’s counting house beaming forth from the centre. (All Choc’s Hockey barrackers gone now!) I must write to him now – Father put in his number so I think I’ll find him. I wonder if you got the supervising for Primary? Bad luck old Clucie asking after me. I’m not feeling too bad at all at all despite the fact of old age creeping on. We’ll be able to commiserate with each other when I get home.

It was bad luck the Mongolia going down: I wrote several letters at Shellal during that month of May & I don’t know what you have had exactly. I can’t work out for sure whether you have had my 2nd instalment re Cairo trip or not: I wrote all about the 2nd day – pyramids etc a week or two after I lobbed out at the Regiment – I think you must have had it though – hope so. Also told about lots of chaps I had met – & my impressions of being under fire for the first time.

Re Mack’s mistake in addressing the parcel – kindly show her – for her comfort & edification – the 2 samples enclosed – both received last mail! Nothing serious nothing serious – sez Joyce – but just shows.

I’m just reminded that in the Critic I reck some time ago there was an account of a wedding which took place in Laura Bap Church – Charlie Walter & Lena Smith – fancy the kid [Lena] – they were engaged I think when I was up there a year ago. I saw an advertisement of Lil Walton’s marriage too. You told me once that Mrs Bella Black’s hubbie had gone to India. Guess he & his mates replaced some of the chaps who have come over here from there: lots of them in the last 6 months. All infantry or artillery men.

I told you that Elf’s ‘Movies’ came safely didn’t I – after all their travels? That’s a patent trade mark all right that Miss Priest drew on the envelope – the ‘Elf’ on a ‘Hale’ car here post not too bad at all. And the photos too are tip top. I picked most of ‘em without any reference to the back – Mrs Tommy – in her characteristic tennis attitude – Jeff – Ruth (& Ruth doing the cake walk behind Muriel & Ray – good of all three of ‘em (& you & Ruth & Hazel W in another – & the new picket fence behind). Some of the others showing friends & relations at play are good pictures too of the court which must have been freshly & well lined for the occasion & the house behind. I reckon the photo of Jeff, taken recently & the court of Joy, Ray, Marj Hartley & Lic with hockey sticks is a bonzar too. Some of Ted Black’s lot were taken at home & in many of them I can pick out people I know. My art gallery is an extensive one & takes time to see thoroughly. Herb Groves & Lance Nev were having a screw through one day recently.

I’ll finish on the back of those ½ envelopes which I’m enclosing.

Les Williams is coming in I think with the cable scheme – or you can ring ‘em up. Mrs David Williams, High Street, Unley Park.

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Enclosures referred to – ½ envelopes
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The front of the envelopes shows the handwriting of the senders – Spencer’s mother (immediately above). Letters were addressed to ‘Australian Imperial Forces, Abroad’
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